The Club Lounge Level Rooms at Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal Hotel

I make a confession here and now to those who routinely drink champagne for breakfast and eat oysters the way I eat peanut M&Ms. Until recently, I had never quite worked out the whole lounge phenomenon. I always wondered if it involved paying a cushy premium to sit on sofas with marginally superior upholstery whilst some semi-stale crisps and crunchy apples hung around in dated bowls on the periphery. And then there was the incident where Pumpkin mistakenly thought he could share his brother’s airport lounge access pass at Sao Paolo airport…the less said about it the better…ritz carlton abu dhabi

The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal

chandeliers Ritz Carlton luxury hotel

As it turns out, it seems assumptions could be my downfall in life. When I made my reservation at the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal Hotel, they proposed a club lounge level room and for the first time, I willed myself to suppress that part of me that has to weigh everything up ad infinitum and accepted.lobby staircase Ritz Carlton Grand CanalAnd thus, I found myself in Abu Dhabi on the 7th floor club lounge at the Ritz Carlton, a hotel that directly faces and lends impressive views of the breathtaking Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (stay tuned for more on that iconic monument coming up soon on the blog).Grand Canal Abu Dhabi Having spent a couple of nights in Abu Dhabi’s busy Corniche area, studded with skyscrapers and high-rise hotels, I was keen to explore a hotel with a different feel for our final night, somewhere more resort-like and exclusive and the Ritz Carlton fitted the bill perfectly. There was an obvious Venetian influence to the elegant decor throughout the hotel grounds, aided by its canal-side location.Venetian village ritz carlton

Darkness set in around 7pm and that was when I felt the greatest affinity to this glamorous hotel, to its floodlit arc of buildings that line the pool whilst the waters shimmer with the reflection of alternating colours.Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi night views

They ensure exclusivity to the Club Lounge by enabling access only via key card in the lift and all club rooms lie within a separate building. As newbies to the club lounge concept, the fact that it has its own private concierge completely escaped us on arrival until the friendly member of staff told us at general check in. (Fortunately, I have far more embarrassing tales from my travels to let this faze me!)club lounge level Ritz Carlton

Amenities & Food at the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Club Lounge

The lounge is open for dining between 6.30 am – 10pm serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner but for those with the midnight munchies, tea, coffee and cookies are available round the clock (don’t miss the chocolate mint ones).lunch snacks Ritz Carlton lounge Abu Dhabi

I particularly enjoyed the fabulous selection of salads and dips especially the baba ghanoush with pomegranate and the beetroot mousse that I stacked onto my plate. I’m no fashion blogger but I can confidently declare that pink teeth are not a good look on anyone! club lounge food Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi

The meals had a greater choice of cold dishes than hot but I was impressed by the variety on offer and the way the choices differed daily. And with such an abundance of fruit and vegetables, this was the healthiest dining I have ever consumed in a hotel…though it would be rude not to enjoy a few of the mini cakes right?!afternoon tea cakes Ritz Carlton loungeAnd given that the temperature was around 33 degrees Celsius at 11.30pm, we cooled off at  Dolce, the hotel’s dessert cafe, for late night ice cream. Always one to try local flavours, my preferred scoop was Halva, a Middle Eastern dessert made of nuts and sesame.ice cream Dolce Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi

We didn’t get a chance to sample the range of internationally inspired restaurants at the hotel, as there is only so much eating one can do with a one night stay, especially with all the food served in the lounge!lounge amenities Ritz Carlton Grand Canal

Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel but worked best in our rooms and in the lounge, which also has two desktop computers with printers but strangely, we found the internet connection to be much faster on one than the other.club lounge Abu Dhabi Ritz Carlton hotelIt was the top to toe glass walls of lounge that caught my eye the most with striking views across the resort, especially at night and lounge staff treated us the way our relatives do – constantly offering us food and drink and making sure we were well fed and the lounge was a haven of cool and quiet when we needed to escape the midday sun.


First impressions of the hotel and the “date man”

lobby Ritz Carlton hotel grand canal


There is a glitz, glamour and Italian elegance palpable from the moment you walk into the Ritz Carlton’s long lobby with multiple chandeliers dispersing bright light across large fresh flower arrangements.flower arrangement hotel lobby Abu Dhabi

They even had a coffee and “date man”. No wordplay intended – quite literally a member of staff each day manning a stall of Arabic coffee and self-serve stuffed dates, which put an enormous smile on my face. They remind me of my childhood.coffee date stall Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi

The hotel provide twice hourly shuttle buses to the Grand Mosque. It is reachable by foot if you can brave the temperatures and operates on a first come first serve basis but everywhere you look in this hotel, whether it is poolside, at the front door or inside the lobby, there are members of staff on standby offering to help visitors and we found the staff to be thoroughly professional and helpful.mosque view Ritz Carlton Grand Canalluxury hotel Abu Dhabi

Club Level Rooms at Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi

welcome message Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi

What I loved about these rooms was their classic luxury with gentle soft furnishings and pampering touches.club lounge hotel room abu dhabi hotel

Ritz Carlton hotel Abu Dhabi bedroomsThe fresh fruit basket, cream coloured oval bedside tables, summer scent of the Asprey cosmetics and fine tea selection did not go unnoticed.

I wasn’t planning to do much swimming in Abu Dhabi as we were headed to the Seychelles next but then I saw the view from our room, which rapidly changed things!

swimming pool room view Ritz Carlton Grand Canal

As we checked out, Pumpkin and I looked at each other with a silent shared sentiment – we should have stayed here for another night (at least).poolside Ritz Carlton Grand Canal

It isn’t very often that I get swept into the web of charm spun by a hotel but there is an opulence and comfort here that leaves you wanting more so if you are going to splurge on somewhere as luxurious as this, don’t make the same mistake we did and stay for a bit longer!
luxury hotel lobby Abu Dhabi
Disclaimer: We paid discounted press rates for the club lounge room at the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal but I remain an opinionated little lady and all views are entirely my own.

53 thoughts on “The Club Lounge Level Rooms at Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal Hotel

  1. I’m a bit of a newbie to the ‘lounge’ scene as well! Although I’ve not experienced anything at this level we got a club room at our hotel in Singapore, and loved that we had our own private breakfast area and also had special nibbles and free cocktails later in the day. Something I could get used to! This hotel does look pretty special though – gorgeous night pic!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 24, 2015 — 7:03 pm

      Thank you Keri! I can imagine the hotels in Singapore probably put up a great show with their lounges too! I loved the experience and was genuinely so surprised at how much was on offer but I’m a bit worried I may have crossed a dangerous threshold :mrgreen:

  2. Holy Motown this place looks incredible. Your pics are superb, how do I get a job as a date man??

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 24, 2015 — 7:05 pm

      Aww thank you Jon! It was such a fabulous hotel, great way to see out our last night in Abu Dhabi! And lol, I think you’d make a great date man! :mrgreen: I was thinking to myself, what on earth must they put as the job description when they advertise for this position?!?

  3. I’m an old hat with the club lounge; they are the best things ever! Honestly, you can nick drinks and food all during the day in-between sightseeing – great when you aren’t too hungry for a main meal but just need something. I always find the staff working in the lounges have the best tips, better than the concierges as they tell you where they go etc. Glad you had a fabulous experience Shikha xx

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 24, 2015 — 7:09 pm

      The staff were so friendly, we had a nice chat with them and there was a family with two young kids who the staff were managing to keep endlessly entertained – the parents looked so relieved! And yes honestly Kelly, we were picking at different foods all day which was one of the reasons we didn’t end up at the a la carte restaurant we’d had in mind for dinner -Oops! I’m definitely going to keep lounge rooms in mind again if this was anything to go by ☺ x

  4. I love the Asprey toiletries and that swimming pool does indeed look amazing. I think lounges can be a godsend, especially when you want a quieter breakfast eating area!

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 24, 2015 — 7:12 pm

      Yes absolutely Suze, don’t get me wrong, I like a lively buffet breakfast as much as the next person but it was such a different experience breakfasting in peace in the lounge! The Asprey toiletries were lovely ☺

  5. Now this, this is how to see Abu Dhabi!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 24, 2015 — 7:14 pm

      Hehe, I don’t often spend hours on end in a hotel when I’m away but honestly Emma, this was one of those hotels where you almost resent having to leave the premises! :mrgreen:

  6. Wow, the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi looks utterly amazing. The Club Lounge is amazing, too. Me personally, I also enjoyed the Hilton Grand Capital Abu Dhabi which has a great club level as well. Especially considering it was a Rocco Forte beforehand, the hotel is absolutely luxurious, too. If you are interested in an authentic review, feel free to follow this link: http://traveluxblog.com/2015/02/03/hotel-review-hilton-capital-grand-abu-dhabi/

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 24, 2015 — 7:16 pm

      Thank you so much for reading Moritz and for sharing your own club level experience in Abu Dhabi! I’m just about to check it out properly now ☺ The Ritz Carlton was lovely but I’m eager to read your review of the Hilton to find out more about that one!

      1. My pleasure! I really like hotel review. They are kind of my obsession 🙂 Looking forward to more content of this kind!

  7. Such a beautiful hotel! Ritz-Carlton sure know how to do classic luxury. My parents and I stayed at the Ritz-Carlton in Kuala Lumpur last year and had club lounge access which was really useful as we had a night flight so could use it after check-out. We also wished we had an extra night or two as it was just such a luxury experience!

    Kam | A Married Couple & Their Travels

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 24, 2015 — 7:18 pm

      I can imagine! If I book a room like this again in future, I’ll definitely stay longer where I can! I’ve never been to KL so if you recommend Ritz Carlton there, I’ll have to keep that in mind if I visit then ☺

  8. I was laughing so much reading your first paragraph! The hotel looks unbelievable, so luxurious. Thank god you were going to the Seychelles after, anything else would have been such a let down!

    Ash | Liakada

  9. Awesome place! would travel there anytime!
    Great pics! Can’t look at the pancakes and desert 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 24, 2015 — 7:19 pm

      Haha, thank you! It was lovely but honestly, I wish I was able to not look at the pancakes and dessert when I was there! I definitely ate more than was necessary :mrgreen:

  10. Woah.. Talk about opulence! Looks delightfully luxurious and OMG that view of the pool!!!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 24, 2015 — 7:25 pm

      Hehe, I was virtually dancing circles of excitement when we opened the back door, sat in the balcony and faced this view Upasna! The pool was a saving grace outdoors in that dry heat ☺

  11. What a wonderful post! I’ve been to Dubai a few times but never Abu Dhabi, but its extraordinarily pretty… and I love how luscious the Grand Hyatt is. I’ve got some friends who live out there so I may have to pop over and use the lounge a little 🙂

    Mehreen A | wrapyourlipsaroundthis.com

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 24, 2015 — 7:29 pm

      Oh thank you Mehreen, so lovely of you to say ☺ Funnily enough, I’ve never been to Dubai and when I have considered it,there are so many hotel choices that it’s so hard to know where to stay so I’ll have to remember your Grand Hyatt tip!

  12. If we visit Abu Dhabi, we know where to stay! The Ritz-Carlton (Club Lounge) looks seriously decadent… When we stayed in a Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge room in San Francisco, we found we couldn’t eat dinner because the appies and drinks were so good (that was the downside, couldn’t drum up the enthusiasm to try more of San Fran’s great restaurants). Tough, eh?

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 28, 2015 — 5:04 pm

      Haha, certainly some tough choices to be left with :mrgreen: I can totally believe that about the Ritz Carlton San Francisco as we too had planned to try and enjoy some of the restaurants at the hotel but simply found ourselves too fill after the delicious snacks on offer all day at the lounge! There seem to be quite a collection of luxury hotels in Abu Dhabi but I would definitely recommend keeping this one in mind if you do visit one day – we had a lovely stay there!

  13. Holy unbelievable places! wow that looks like it costs a month’s wages!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 28, 2015 — 5:07 pm

      Haha, it was a bit of a treat for our final night though I was really quite surprised as to how affordable Abu Dhabi hotels really seemed to be when I was looking particularly as were travelling off peak! I’ve got a review coming up soon Andrew of another hotel we stayed in whilst we were there – very plush and for the same sort of price as you’d pay for a hostel here in London! Watch this space!

  14. I know you were looking forward to your stay after reading about my Ritz Carlton Dubai stay – so I’m really pleased you loved it too. Fabulous review and photos. The room looks very similar to the one I had – blissful!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 28, 2015 — 5:13 pm

      Well remembered Suzanne! Yes, I got even more excited after I’d read of your positive review and it really didn’t disappoint. The rooms were so comfy and there was so much going on around the hotel that I’ll try and factor in a bit more time if I ever return!

  15. Shikha, this is wonderful! We are dying to visit Abu Dhabi, as it’s only a short 40 minute flight away, and I think you might have convinced us where we should stay! The Middle East does club lounges like nowhere else that I have been to, and it looks as though the Ritz Carlton is no exception. I love the typical Middle Eastern architecture of the building too – it looks a lot like a Kempinski hotel here in Doha.

    Polly xx
    Follow Your Sunshine

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 28, 2015 — 5:18 pm

      Oh really? That’s interesting to hear they gave architectural similarities. I had no idea the flight was so short for you Polly, that’s even quicker than most people’s commutes (!)so it’ll be a really nice easy weekend break option for you! I can totally believe that about Middle Eastern hotel lounges – nothing is done by halves in hotels there is it?! ☺ x

  16. travelingsaurus June 27, 2015 — 1:16 pm

    Oh wow, that puts all the hotel lounges I’ve been in to shame! It looks wonderful–and the food–so much delicious food!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 28, 2015 — 5:20 pm

      Oh really Heather? That’s interesting to hear as it was my first time using a hotel lounge so I better try and remember they’re not always like this in that case!! The food was just fabulous – we convinced ourselves we were eating quite healthy with the lounge food because it was “little and often” rather than big heavy meals but I’m not sure it works that way when “often” means you’re eating about 6 times in the day :mrgreen:

  17. Wooow! I have never ever been into a club lounge, but your post and pictures have made me want to go right this second. What an absolutely gorgeous hotel! It really sounds like everything was thought of (particularly love the date man!) x

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) June 28, 2015 — 5:23 pm

      It was my first time too Emily and I mustn’t let myself get too used to it but it really was a lovely treat! It was a stunning hotel, particularly at night but I get pretty excited about the small things and the date man just made my day, as we used to eat them all the time when I lived in the Middle East as a child ☺

  18. Such a beautiful place… and all those glorious cakes! Why ever would you leave the lounge?! 😉

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 2, 2015 — 8:33 pm

      I know!! That was part of the reason I wish we’d stayed for longer – only a 1 night stay and I spent half my time there in the lounge eating salad and then figuring I deserve cake! ☺

  19. I think my main problem here would have been leaving the lounge Shikha! Everything looks amazing 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 2, 2015 — 8:50 pm

      We struggled with that too, Emily! I’m almost embarrassed about how many times we popped in and out trying all the delicious foods and relaxing in the air con with the poolside views! Mustn’t let myself get too used to it! :mrgreen:

  20. Wow, what a hotel! I couldn’t expect any less from the Ritz 😀
    Amazing! I love all the details, like the note they left you… how sweet.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) July 23, 2015 — 9:03 pm

      Yes I get really excited still when I see these little hand written notes – the small touches like that make such a difference to a stay!

      1. Same here!! I love simple things, I’m still the kind of person who likes to hand write Christmas cards 😀

        1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) August 1, 2015 — 7:18 am

          Aww that’s lovely, I must admit I’m not very good at keeping up to date with writing cards but it’s always such a nice surprise when you receive a card with a thoughtful message ☺

          1. It is right? Maybe that’s why I love postcards 😀

  21. Great photos. Thinking of booking for November. Could you tell me if there is alcohol in the Club lounge in the evenings. Regards

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) September 15, 2015 — 10:50 pm

      Thank you so much for reading Carole – I’m delighted you liked the pictures! Yes there was alcohol being served in the evenings – it was either after a set time or after sunset – can’t quite remember but we definitely saw it being served in the evenings. I imagine it might be a different story at Ramadan times etc though so it might be worth double checking before you book but I loved my stay here and we really enjoyed the lounge facilities! Hope you have a great trip ☺

      1. I really enjoyed reading and thank you for sharing.
        Re alcohol in the club lounge do you know if it was part of the Club Level package or was there a fee for it?

        1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) September 17, 2015 — 8:55 pm

          Thanks so much for reading Annemarie! As far as I am aware and could tell, it was included in the Club Level package but it might be worth double checking directly with the hotel because I myself don’t actually drink so it wasn’t something I specifically enquired about. If you do end up going, I hope you have a wonderful stay there!

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